San Francisco to dot-com developers: No more

Voters pass anti-growth measure Proposition L by a slim margin.

Published November 8, 2000 2:01PM (EST)

No more dot-com gentrification, San Francisco's voters said Tuesday. With all the precincts reporting, the final vote tally was 120,695 for and 117,216 against a ballot proposal that will effectively halt new office development in such neighborhoods as the Mission District and South of Market.

Proposition K, a much milder anti-growth measure sponsored by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, was defeated.

Marie Jones, director of economic development for the San Francisco Partnership, said: "Prop. L is not going to solve the problem of housing costs, nonprofit arts displacement or traffic. These are complex problems that require real community planning. Unfortunately, the passage of L will lead to job loss and business displacement."

Victorious supporters of the measure, such as Debra Walker, a Mission District painter and community activist, insist that their measure is not anti-dot-com, it's anti-developer: "What's happened is that real estate interests have artificially accelerated the prices, and people can't afford it, including the dot-com companies. You don't just build yourself out of what is perceived to be a supply and demand crisis, anymore than you print more money when you have a bad economy."

The passage of anti-growth measure Proposition L added a new chapter to San Francisco's long history of progressive politics. But whether Proposition L's passage will have an impact on San Francisco's dot-com economy is, ironically, almost a moot question.

Even as voters were going to the polls, news began to spread of the latest round of dot-com closures. San Francisco's voters may have put an end to new office development just as the new economy locomotive finally ran out of steam.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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